It’s a common cliché in hockey that the most important shift in a game is the first after a goal. Twice Friday night, the Spokane Chiefs came out flat after a goal and it cost them dearly in a 5-3 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds.
After a Luke Toporowksi power-play goal tied the score at 3-3 in the third period, it took the Thunderbirds just 46 seconds to regain the lead on a Tyrel Bauer shot from the point. Bauer’s goal ended up being the winner.
The Chiefs also gave up goals 27 seconds apart late in the second period to give Seattle a 3-2 lead. Those goals came after Bear Hughes put Spokane up 2-1 on a rare shorthanded 5-on-3 goal.
After Hughes’ goal, Lucas Ciona scored on a two-on-one. The shot went off the bar in the back of the net and was called a goal on the ice. It was then ruled no goal after the officials met. After a video review, the original call on the ice stood and Seattle had indeed tied the score.
But 27 seconds later, the Chiefs had trouble clearing their own zone and turned the puck over at the blue line. Reid Schaefer crashed the net and picked up his second goal in as many games to give Seattle the lead.
“We turned the puck over way too much tonight,” Chiefs coach Adam Maglio said. “Our puck management wasn’t good. Some of our D weren’t ready tonight in a game against a big, physical team.”
Hughes led the way for Spokane with a goal and two assists. Erik Atchison added a goal and an assist himself. Mason Beaupit got the nod in net and made 26 saves on 31 Seattle shots.
Atchison opened the scoring at 4:14 with Hughes assisting. Seattle’s Italian import, Alessandro Segafredo, tied it on a goal from the slot at 9:57.
Hughes’ shorthanded goal came at 11:54 of the second with two of his teammates in the penalty box – Grady Lane and Toporowski, both for roughing. Hughes was able to clear the puck out of his zone and skated into the Seattle zone on the forecheck. Seattle goaltender Thomas Milic came out of his net to play the puck in the corner and sent an ill-advised pass to the center of the ice for a waiting Hughes, who was all alone.
“I was honestly going to change but I saw (Milic) coming out to play the puck,” Hughes said. “I didn’t think he’d pass it to me … but he ended up landing it on my tape. My first thought was to shoot it right away but I was kind of scared I’d miss the net. I figured I’d just take my chance coming in one-on-one.”
The lead was short-lived, though, as Seattle scored its quick goals shortly thereafter.
Conner Roulette added insurance for Seattle at 17:26 of the third.
The Chiefs were 1-for-4 on the power play and weren’t able to get a ton of chances with the man advantage.
“I thought Seattle did a good job and we knew we had to be a little opportunistic on the power play,” Maglio said. “We got the one (goal) in the third but we were sloppy with the puck. We need to be crisp on the power play and make better decisions.”
The Chiefs are left still in search of their first win of the season after three games. Friday’s game was the first of three games in three nights. The Chiefs are in Tri-City on Saturday and Portland on Sunday.
Chiefs release Reller, Friedt-Mohr
The Chiefs whittled their roster down to 25 players prior to Friday’s game, sending a pair of 18-year-olds to other leagues in Canada and the United States.
The Chiefs sent Brandon Reller to the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey Leauge and 18-year-old defenseman Chase Friedt-Mohr to the Kindersley Klippers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Reller had eight points in 49 career games over two seasons and Friedt-Mohr had two points in 15 games last season.
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